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FRIENDS - FLATHEAD NATION IS INDIGENOUS LED AND PARTNERS WITH TRIBAL COMMUNITY LEADERS TO CONNECT YOUTH AND FAMILIES TO THEIR CULTURE AND HERITAGE.

In the Spring of 2023, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council passed a Resolution to support Friends of the Children-Western Montana’s opening of a location to serve Tribal youth on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Friends - Flathead Nation aims to work within an Indigenous world view that recognizes youth as our most sacred resource. Friends-Flathead Nation is a location of Friends of the Children-Western Montana, an independent chapter of the Friends of the Children national network. The chapter serves 64 children and more than 250 family members in Missoula, Ravalli, and Lake Counties.

Friends - Flathead Nation is unique, as it serves youth from the Salish, Pend d’Orielle, and Kootenai Tribes, and has opened enrollment to all Tribal youth living on the reservation. The Flathead Reservation has rich diversity and representation from 64 Tribal Nations.

In coordination with a community advisory committee, our program team will support the development of culturally responsive programming for youth and families.

TRIBAL SUPPORT

“Tribal Education, Social Services, ECS [Early Childhood Services], Polson Schools and Friends of the Children believe that Indigenous students should have an opportunity for a supportive adult to engage with them throughout their entire academic career to help strengthen their understanding of self through identify, language, cultural practices, community building and healing ....”

-Resolution the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, May 23, 2023

THE CHILDREN WE SERVE

Like all children, the youth we serve have unique talents and big dreams. They also face more obstacles than others including: systemic poverty, structural racism, generational trauma, underfunded schools, violence, hunger, and homelessness.

OUR FRIENDS

Friends are full-time, salaried professionals who spend 3-4 hours each week with each child. Our mentors teach valuable life skills, model healthy behaviors, and create pathways to more choices and opportunities for youth all while utilizing Indigenous cultural lifeways to enhance the Friends of the Children model.

Kootenai Translation 1

THE MODEL

The Friends of the Children model ensures that youth are supported from as early as age 4 through high school graduation - for 12+years, no matter what. Friends of the Children is committed to working in partnership with sovereign tribal nations. Our intention is to ground our work in tribal cultures specific to the communities we serve utilizing an extended kinship model and cultural interventions as a means to strengthen identity among indigenous youth.

Salish Translation 2

Our model was founded on research showing that the single most important factor in overcoming childhood adversity is a long-term, nurturing relationship with a consistent, caring adult. This is something Indigenous peoples have always known, and it is reflected in tribal concepts of kinship and community.

LEARN MORE

For information about Friends of the Children's work on the Flathead Reservation, please contact Program Manager, Nicole Callahan:

ncallahan@friendsmontana.org | 406.258.8081

To learn more about Friends -Western Montana, please contact Executive Director, Ben Davis:

bdavis@friendsmontana.org | 406.218.6850

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